Let’s face it, teaching isn’t easy. There are lot of hoops for jumping and curveballs being pitched on a daily basis. Somehow teachers seem to keep it all together and maintain the focus of helping students find success. When it seems like that focus is starting to waiver, beginning or restoring these 10 practices can be just what’s needed to keep educators grounded and to make positive impacts on all students.
- Provide frequent and timely feedback. Enough can’t be said about the importance of sharing feedback with students during the learning process. Setting up checkpoints, offering a variety of formative assessments, and discussing learning in real time are all essential.
- Value parental/familial involvement. Students have an entire life outside of school and hopefully a solid support system. Bridging a connection between these two worlds helps everyone stay informed and makes it easier for parents to reinforce and support what’s happening in the classroom.
- Sidestep the comfort zone. Innovations and new strategies are occurring all the time. This doesn’t mean that every bandwagon should be boarded, but in trying something new and unfamiliar, teachers can find additional ways to impact students, and students can see an exemplar of risk taking.
- Offer second chances/clean slates. Rather than focusing on what can’t be changed from the past, let the focus be on making the best future. Some students will push limits, but when they are in your presence, they should be getting the best and most positive version of you.
- Be resourceful. Whether this means thinking outside of the box for procuring supplies or adding a little DIY spin to what seemed to be an unattainable resource, teachers can always seem to find a way to get it done.
- Make learning active. Students are going to find more impactful takeaways from doing rather than simply listening or viewing. Offer opportunities for students to be actively engaged in their learning journeys.
- Be an advocate. This is twofold. Teachers need to advocate for themselves and for their students. This can involve advocating for supplies, services, training, etc.
- Pursue lifelong learning. Staying up-to-date on movements and developments in the field allows teachers to help students prepare for an ever-changing world. Pursuing personal passions outside of education also benefits learners because teachers can reflect on what it is like to be in the shoes of their students.
- Encourage discussion. Through discussion, students are exposed to a variety of opinions and ideas that may or may not be similar to their own. Classrooms offer a perfect forum for teaching students to respect others and learn to share information, agree, and disagree in a productive and nonthreatening fashion.
- Keep a positive outlook. Don’t get caught up with the naysayers. When (not if) this negative attitude trickles over to the students, it can have detrimental effects on the learning environment as a whole. Be mindful and always remember that a adding a positive spin to necessary or mundane tasks goes a long way.
Teachers are some of the most passionate and committed professionals out there. Part of this passion and commitment is a drive to provide every student with meaningful and impactful learning experiences. By taking the time to reflect on how these 10 best practices fit into their current pedagogy, teachers are putting themselves one step closer to achieving this goal.